back to article Ofcom: Mobe numbers to be ported within a working day

Mobile phone users must be able to port their numbers to a new network within one working day from April next year, Ofcom has ruled. The new rules due to come into force next year will also specify that a customer requesting a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) by phone must be given one either immediately during the call or by …


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  1. Ged T


    And whilst OFCOM are so-minded about taking the delay out from the consumer, can they now turn their attention to the Fixed Line market? Similar timescales should be in order there, too.

  2. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    No, no, no

    Number portability is a Bad Thing.

    STD codes on land lines serve a very useful purpose: They indicate where someone is physically located.

    STD codes on mobile numbers (used to) serve an analogous purpose, by indicating on what network the destination phone may be found. And for the operators, this keeps routing tables (dial plans, if you know Asterisk; what bit of wire at your end is physically connected to what bit of wire at the other end, if you know analogue systems) simple.

    I don't mind subscribers keeping their numbers, if they cross exchange boundaries, but the STD code should be sacrosanct.

    1. Malcolm 1

      Horse bolted. Gate shut.

      Why would anyone who's not a telecoms engineer want to change the first 5 digits of their mobile number when they switched networks? If you have to do that then the entire point of keeping your number would be null and void.

      I don't think anyone out in the real world associates the first 5 digits of their mobile number with a particular network, and regardless of that I imagine that there has been sufficient churn over the last decade that any significant correlation between the two is rapidly diminishing.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the BIG problem - AGAIN!!!

    This is all well and good, but whether you can get a PAC code in 2 hours or 2 days makes sod-all difference.

    The BIG problem is the onerous 18 month (and 2 year!) contracts that all the mobile operators impose, EVEN when you just want to use a phone that you already have. What's the point of being able to get your PAC code in 2 hours if you still have to wait 12 months for your contract to expire or buy yourself out of it?

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    About time too

    This has been the case in Ireland for years. It baffles me why Ofcom took so long to force this in.

    1. Adam Williamson 1
      Thumb Up


      No-one imposes contracts. You can get PAYG and pay monthly options on all the major carriers. If you *choose* to sign a contract in order to get a hardware subsidy, that's no-one's problem but your own.

      This is a great move. Last time I came to the UK I wanted to switch my UK number from Orange to Tesco, since they have much better PAYG data wound up taking several days (split over a weekend) and that was something of a PITA.

  5. Mountford D

    What about the retention dept hassle?

    Sadly it doesn't address the letters, emails and phone calls you get from the retention dept when you want to change suppliers. Let's face it - a customer generally has a pretty good reason for wanting to move to another supplier.

    If it is for a better deal elsewhere, then a supplier should know better than to take their existing customers for granted. If the customer is moving because he/she is pissed off by the supplier then the customer would have made considerable attempts in sorting out the problem before giving up and deciding to move.

    Either way, trying to retain customers after the event is pointless and pisses the customer off even more. What's the age-old saying now - "The customer is King" or have suppliers got so arrogant in the 21st century?

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Mobile number porting

    What I would also like is to port my mobile number to VOIP.

    Ofcom says that that is not allowed, because mobile numbers get a higher termination fee, and that wouldn't be fair, because VOIP operators don't deserve it.

    Instead, I have to pay mobile rates to forward all calls to a separate VOIP number. The mobile operator makes a packet of money from the "mobile" termination charge, even though the number is not mobile, and then makes a high charge to forward the call, even though it is not made from a mobile.

    In addition SMS are not forwarded, and outgoing calls cannot have the mobile number!

    So Ofcom, tell me HOW IS THAT FAIRER ?? !!

  7. paulf Silver badge

    Good result

    I'm glad they didn't go for the three method of "recipient led" porting, as that would just add the problem of slamming to another area (in addition to utils and landline). Considering how difficult it is to get a PAC out of Three I'm surprised they wanted "recipient led"!!

    I've never had a problem getting a PAC from Voda or Orange, and I've had to request more than one from both of them in the last year for various reasons. So I'm happy with the PAC system staying, but getting the code within two hours means you can find your handset then have a pint and a spot of lunch while waiting for the PAC to arrive to complete your purchase.

    I'd be happy if they introduced a PAC system to gas, leccy, and landline, but with similar time limits on its arrival once requested.


  8. Paul 93

    Oh Joy

    Down from 2 days to 1, what a great use of time, so why does it take 12 bloody weeks to change my electricity or gas provider??? Maybe some useless govt quango could take that up instead?

    1. Steve Medway

      re: Oh Joy

      Why does it take 12 weeks to change electricity supplier.....

      That'll be down to huge amount of crap messages that have to be sent between suppliers...

      The good ol' D69 (my personal favourite rolf!) = 'Rejection of Registration Objection Removal' which in turn is response to a D66 which = 'Rejection of a Registration Objection' which was a response to a D64 which = 'Notification of an Objection to Change of Supplier Made By the Old Supplier' in response to..... the list goes on.

      For a full view of the barking mad electricity transfer messages see:-

      I got out of the IT bit of supplier transfers nearly 10 years ago and those damn D-flows are still in my head ARRGGHHHHH!!!!!!


    2. A J Stiles

      Changing my electricity supplier

      I change my electricity supplier all the time.

      Sometimes I recharge my meter key at the corner shop, sometimes I recharge it at the petrol station, sometimes I recharge it in town.

  9. Reg Sim

    Yea, now all they need to do is..

    Sort out all the other crap they have been letting folk off with. Like separating BT, kicking ass when it comes to data provision via 3G networks, kicking ass for broadband descriptions....

    Really the list of where they still fail is long, however I will give them a pat on the back for this one, it seems quite reasnoble.

    However, I would like some sorta idea what happens if they 'fail' to provide this faster service, some sorta big stick that the customer can expect them to be hit with.


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